Take a break from all that hustle and bustle of holiday preparations and check out some of the many family-friendly activities around Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Below is our list of the best local holiday activities occurring throughout the month of December.
A Christmas classic
A Christmas Carol is an annual tradition at Trinity Repertory in Providence that has been a holiday favorite for 38 consecutive years. Each year, Trinity Rep performs Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of forgiveness and compassion throughout the months of November and December. To purchase tickets for this family-friendly performance, visit Trinity Rep’s website.
Bristol’s Christmas Festival
“America’s Most Patriotic Town” can also throw a fantastic holiday celebration. This year, the 27th Annual Bristol Christmas Festival is chock full of activities from Breakfast with Santa and concerts to the main event: the Grand Illumination. Check out their schedule of events on their website.
Wild holiday displays at Coventry home
Each year, The Crazy Christmas House and the Conway Christmas Lights Extravaganza in Coventry put on an incredible lights display that raises money for selected charities. This year, they are teaming up to put on a display with over 100,000 dancing lights and 65 homemade cutout characters. All proceeds raised from the display will go to The Tomorrow Fund and there will be three nights of collecting donations to benefit the Coventry Food Bank. The display begins Thanksgiving night at 7pm and goes until Christmas night. The display is located at 265 Maple Valley Road in Coventry and the hours can be seen on their website.
Narragansett’s Festival of Lights
Narragansett’s annual Festival of Lights Celebration is popular in South County and for good reason: this all-day celebration features attractions for all ages from trolley rides and meeting Santa to a tree lighting and firework display. Guests can grab a cup of hot chocolate and take a horse drawn wagon ride or catch a presentation of “A Christmas Carol” in the library. For a complete schedule of events visit their website.
Take a trip to the North Pole
Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book (the author happens to be visiting Woonsocket this month!) this magical train ride on the Providence and Worcester line travels 45 minutes to the “North Pole” in Millbury and back. Guests of all ages can participate in sing-a-longs and sip hot chocolate and eat cookies. Tickets can be purchased on the Polar Express website.
Newport’s month-long celebration
Christmas in Newport has been an annual tradition since 1971. The celebration goes throughout the month of December with a variety of activities each day including walking tours, concerts, shops and contests. A full list of events is available on the 44th annual Christmas in Newport website.
La Salette’s Holiday Lights Display
One of the most well known holiday attractions in Southern New England is the Holiday Lights Display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, MA. The yearly lights display features 300,000 lights over 10 acres. The event is free to the public (with donations appreciated) and runs until January 4th from 5-9pm daily. For more information on their holiday festivities–including tips on beating the traffic—visit their website.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, families have already started planning their holiday menus and travel arrangements. While Thanksgiving is primarily recognized as a time of appreciation for all that we have, it’s also an important holiday for giving back to the community. According to FeedingAmerica.org, one in seven Rhode Islanders struggle with hunger. Thankfully, there are many ways to help our neighbors during this holiday season.
Looking to give back while also getting some exercise? There are several road races around Thanksgiving that help local charities.
Each year, the Newport Running Club organizes the Pie Run held on Thanksgiving morning in Middletown. The race is on a scenic five mile course by Sachuest Beach that starts and ends in front of the Newport County YMCA. There is also a three mile non-competitive walk. Participants are asked to bring one non-perishable food item that will benefit a local food bank. For more information or to register, go to www.newportrunningclub.org.
Every Thanksgiving day, Pawtucket hosts the annual Rhode Island Family Turkey Trot 5K & Kids Fun Run that benefits the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen. To register to participate or volunteer, please visit www.familyturkeytrot.com
For 15 years St. Luke’s School in Barrington has organized the annual Trot Off Your Turkey race held the day after Thanksgiving. The race features a raffle where participants receive one free raffle ticket for each canned good or non-perishable food item they bring on race day. For more information go to www.trotoffyourturkey.org.
Dance for charity
Feel like moving, but not a runner? Warwick’s The Dancing Feeling is holding a Thanksgiving Food Drive Dance at their studio in Warwick on Friday, November 21st. The Ballroom Dance lasts from 8pm until 11pm and participants are asked to bring any non-perishable food items with them to be donated to the Rhode Island Food Bank.
Rhode Island Food Banks
If you’d rather relax during the holiday, don’t worry, there are other ways you can help out.
Each year, NBC 10 partners with Shaw’s and The Salvation Army to provide food baskets to 3,000 families in Southern New England. Donating is easy—in participating Shaw’s supermarkets there are marked shopping carts inside the store to donate non-perishable food items. Monetary donations can also be made online.
Local food banks are always looking for volunteers and donations regardless of the time of year. The Rhode Island Food Bank has a list of needed food on their website, as well as a list of their member agencies.
The Museum of Yachting’s 35th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta will be held this weekend at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Showcasing over 50 vintage wooden yachts, the weekend provides something for everyone, hosting events both on and off the water.
Registration will be open from 5-7pm on Friday, August 29, while all attendees are invited to enjoy the Welcome Cocktail Party with cash bar held from 6-8pm.
After racing on Saturday, the North U Regatta Services team will be stopping by the hospitality tent at Sail Newport from 4:30-6:30pm where there will be giveaways and refreshments.
On Sunday, the Classic Yacht Parade begins at 10:30am, displaying a procession of vintage yachts which can be seen from several viewing areas all around the Newport Harbor. Everyone is then invited to attend the Awards Dinner featuring cocktails at 6:30pm before dinner by Blackstone Caterers at 7:30pm.
For more information on this unique event, please Click Here.